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How to Help a Friend

Consider this more of a rant than actually expecting any productive advice. Also this is nice and anonymous.

So my best friend of… oh… 18 years or so…

I’m quickly coming to terms with the fact hes just… not a great person.

We’ve been virtually inseparable since the 4th grade, (26 now) and somewhere we branched paths. I’m not extremely successful by any stretch, but I’m doing well for myself. I have a great job, with great benefits, and a lot of room to grow. I’ve got a house, a stable relationship. Barring the flooded house, I’ve had a very strict lifting regimen. I keep a good schedule for most things… and hes been there for all of it. (currently renting a room to him)

However, first and foremost, hes an alcoholic. Hes borderline sociopathic; he will say absolutely whatever it takes to have it his way, he has the prototypical “skinny guy treats women like shit” attitude, he cant let anything go, critically depressed… I mean the list just goes on and on… and all of it is completely preventable. I get alcoholism, I’ve delt with it my entire life (family), but everything else he does is completely self provoked. He soberly makes decisions that he knows will have a poor outcome, get drunk to get over the issues, then hide himself in his room for days on end in a depressed funk. His current train is being about emotionally stable as a 13y old girl, over a chick that he cheated on, treated like shit, and threatened, so she dumped him.

We’ve had some… loud talks… that have devolved into him being a sobbing mess of a man, and me being WAY out of my comfort zone… I’m extremely passive about most things, but it’s never made a difference.

I should note he has a lung disease, and is medically unable to work, but I have a hard time believing this is the root, hes knows about that for… at least a decade, and could live a productive, full life if he did his treatments (were talking maybe 30 minutes out of his day)

I don’t think he’s beyond help, he’s fairly intelligent… errr… well read I should say, he is conscious of what he’s doing, he has bouts of wanting to be better, but it just all gets drowned by self induced pity parties, and him thinking the world is against him.

I was pretty edgy in high school, we both were, but he just never lost it. I try my best not to be judgemental of anyone, but it’s hard when we’ve lived basically the same life, and my girlfriend and I have offered to take him with us as far as he wants, and he still just shits the bed.

I dont want to just ignore it, but I also have 0 patience left to fight it. I’ve got a full time job, 45 - 60 hours a week, a flooded house that I’m about 80% responsible for fixing (I am NOT handy…) a significant other to properly spend time with, and a bunch of other shit all you guys have to deal with.

That’s about it. Feels good to get it in front of me.

Sucks when you’ve been friends for so long, but he can only get better if he wants and acknowledges that he needs it.

If it’s any consolation, one of my best friends just admitted to having the alcohol problem we all knew he had and is getting help. It took time and consequences but he’s taking the right steps now.

When I left the military, despite having a great work ethic, I was a raging alcoholic. I delved into coke and pills, lied to my family and friends, cheated on girls, and ended up cut off from everyone for a short period of time. It was not my decision to cut ties, but my family and friends made it clear that if I was going to act like that, I was not going to be in their lives. It was a wake up call. Fast forward, and I have a career, I’m the only one of my friends to own a house, have 2 kids, have a wonderful relationship with my family and all my own friends, and I can honestly say that if I had been coddled and tolerated, I’d probably be doing the same shit.
The tough part is, not everyone makes it out on the other side like I did. Your friend needs you to not be there for him to cry on and justify his bullshit. Your friend needs you to cut him out of your functional life and kick his ass to the curb. He doesn’t want it, but he needs it. You’re only damaging him by being there when he acts like this. If he fucks up and has nobody but himself to blame and talk to, he may realize the gravity of his situation. As it stands, he always has you to make him feel like everything will be okay, and that prevents him from making any real changes.
Right now, the only thing that can happen is that his choices are going to start affecting you and your life, and you can’t let that happen. Cut the umbilical cord and get him the fuck out of your life until he has a life of his own to share with you.


No homo.

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Flaps right.

I’ve been in recovery for a pretty good while now and I’ve seen people literally coddled to the grave. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was kick my old drinking buddy out.

I ran into him at a recovery event and we started hanging out after having gone separate ways. I was really happy to see him, thinking that we had both come to the same conclusion through different paths. Then he sprung that he needed a place to crash. Well I had a place to crash! So I laid down the rules. It isn’t gonna be like the old days. He needed a job. So I took him with me (partner in tree Co.). Then as soon as he got comfy he started boozing again. So I kicked him out.

He went to crash somewhere else. A crack house. Turns out that the guy running the crack house owed his suppliers too much, so they came in and shot everybody, killing my old buddy. I found out when I was watching the news that night.

The really sad part is that the guy had literally every opportunity to change and ran every person in his life dry in pursuit of another drink. I still actively participate in helping people recover, but the main thing that I keep in mind is that not everybody makes it. You can be supportive without having to support a person. And most importantly, that it is their choice to either pursue the changes required to live a productive life or persue their next drink. That knowledge has been gotten over the course of 18 years and seeing thousands of people recover and way too many fail.

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Your friend has some serious issues. The physical issues alone are enough to drive someone with them, mad. People often wonder whether or not physical pain or emotional pain is worse. Well, as someone who has experienced misery and major physical pain, I’d say the physical is slightly ahead by a nose. The lung disease is a HUGE deal. He cannot just ‘get over it’.
It’s sounds like he’s majorly depressed with very low self esteem and actually for good reason.
Have something that takes you out of work, especially for a man, is devastating. Disability sucks and he has little shot at succeeding and much.
So, he’s an alcoholic? That’s tough to diagnose. There are people who drink a lot who are not alcoholics and there are alcoholics. My understanding is that alcohol affects died-in-the-wool alcoholics differently. That doesn’t mean he can’t be addicted to it, it’s just a different brain trait.
I think that’s a symptom of the problem, not a problem in itself.

Whether or not you want to be friends with this guy is up to you. But having arguments and giving him “loud” advice, will not do shit except piss both of you off and accomplish nothing.
If you do want to help him, help him find something that makes him feel useful that he can do. That would make a huge difference in his quality of life.

Geez dude. You’ve had some rough shit happen to you.

Not really. Around me, sure, but I’ve been pretty fortunate.

I’ll just respond to the group here instead of individually.

I have a hard time being aggressive about the issue, just because I cant relate, I dont have any major addictions, alcohol is a mild time killer for me at best, so I dont feel like I have a right to tell him how to feel.

However, I’m also literally his last friend standing, so I feel like I owe it to him to be the one who stops tolerating it without abandoning him.

As far as keeping him busy, I agree, I feel like 90% of his issues would be resolved if he was simply more busy. However hes totally unreliable, so as for shit around the house, it just wont get done. He COULD technically work… I mean, hes not a useless stump, hes allowed to work at least part time (full if he decides to forgo benefits) it just cant be manual labor.

I’m just at the point now where I’ve stopped helping. I’m there as a friend, and we hang out daily (rare for any roommates really) I’ve just stopped helping him with money, and picking him up when he’s too drunk somewhere, talking to him about his… less than desirable traits. My only step left I can think of is to spike his rent (which… I mean… hes robbing us blind) and just stash the surplus for him. But that seems extremely underhanded, and not really my style.

As far his lung condition, I’m not downplaying that. It sucks without a doubt, but, while hard to explain. It just doesnt seem to be a main contributing factor. It’s more constant background noise if that makes sense. Hes not pushing it to the back, he jokes about, he has serious discussions about it, its… nothing repressed you know?

My honest opinion is stay his friend unless it’s going to have a major negative effect on your life. Not being cold but at some point you might have to cut ties

100% agree on this.

Let him stumble so he can find his own path.

Without meeting the guy, I couldn’t tell you then. I would think the lung thing is THE biggest factor, but you know him better than I do. I just wouldn’t worry about the liquor until you know the root. What’s the difference if he is sober and miserable or drunk and miserable? At least the time passes faster.

If one is sober and miserable they’re doing it wrong. Not that life is one long sweeping journey of unbridled happiness, but there’s a lot to be appreciative of with the right mindset and a little practice.

No, you haven’t. Because:

So you’re there for him, you hang out daily, he rents from you at way too low of a price, and you’ve even considered setting up surreptitious savings accounts for him.

As long as you are his last friend standing, he will never really have the incentive to change what he’s doing. After all, he’s always got you.

I do understand that you wanted to vent and weren’t actually that interested in my advice, so I apologize if I went overboard - I just think you sound really well put-together, and I’d hate to see that change.

No worries, dude. While I’m not really seeking advice, I think perspective is one of the most important traits that people seem to ignore. I’ve only lived my life, and other people experience is necessary to see clearly.

I’m going to continue down my path for now, but I will keep the advice in mind. My girlfriend, my pets, and the future of myself always come first, I’m just trying to help anyone who needs it along the way.

Thanks everyone for listening, I’m generally the stable person in my friends and family, and it just feels good to anonymously bitch sometimes.

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I can respect that. Thanks for taking it in stride, man. Best of luck.

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Just based on the fact that this poor fucker is on disability with a lung disorder I think he must be horribly depressed. The question is, what can he do? What can he do to give himself some self worth.
When a man feels useless, it destroys his identity. Personally, I think drinking is the least of his problems… But again, I don’t know the guy. But I know how I would feel if I couldn’t work, couldn’t provide for even myself?? I’d be drunk as shit.

You really can’t assume you know what is causing him to feel and act a certain way. YOU might be devastated by not being able to work, but he might not be. What you do know is he has a drinking problem, manipulates people, and has been relying on OP to take care of him. OP knows him way more than any of us and I’ll take his word when he says he doesn’t think that’s the main issue.

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Then his post was pointless. If he didn’t want observations stated, then don’t post it.

I’d say eliminate the problems one can, do the best with the ones a person can’t. Alcoholism is absolutely treatable. No reason to have concomitant problems.

I’ve known way too many people that have successfully recovered in the face of a wide variety of disabilities to agree with you.

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Observations are fine Pat, I dont mind
like I told flap, I enjoy absorbing everyone else’s thoughts on it, extreme or not.

Honestly in some aspects you’re right, he has the smol dog syndrome, he feels like he has to prove himself worth everything he does.

And honestly it could have been depression from the illness that started the alcoholism. I cant be sure when it went from partying to sad drinking, we kind of started at the same time, and my late teens were a blur. Regardless the alcoholism as developed an identity all it’s own at this point. That part I’m sure of.

However like Skyz said, the alcoholism is an independent issue that can be treated more or less by itself I think. Itll be hard to get through the depression and other underlying issues while hes hammered.

I should point out hes aware that its hurting him, he just hasn’t accepted that hes going to have to give it up. There is progress, but hes the king of “I’ll worry about it later”.